“…pray without ceasing…” 1 Thess. 5:17 NO! A sweet friend told me one day. My friend is a loving, compassionate, godly, giving, and generous woman who is continually finding opportunities to love and serve the Lord and others. I had presented her with a wonderful opportunity to help me with something that probably would have taken no more than an hour or two every month. She would have been a big help to me, but most importantly she would have been serving the Lord with that opportunity, not to mention through her help facilitating the serving of hundreds of people in need. How, and why then, could she possibly say NO!? The answer is plain and simple, and there may well lie herein a message for you. Her NO! had…

“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” Phil. 3:8  “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:12-14     I used to un-bury corpses. In fact, if I’m…

 “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” Hebrews 11:24-26 But I don’t enjoy doing this, I thought to myself. Whine. Whine. I have done this before, and I don’t enjoy it. Whine. Sigh. The Spirit of God interrupted my thoughts. “Is this about your enjoyment or about obedience?” I was speechless. Totally convicted. Of resisting the Lord. Of debating. Of holding back. See, the Lord had made clear over a matter of months – yes, months – that He wanted me to reach out…

“Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore!” Psalm 105:4 Sometimes we want to leave somewhere, or something, or even someone so badly we can practically taste the leaving in our mouths. We can’t imagine greater relief, greater freedom, greater hope, greater excitement, a greater fresh start, greater possibilities, greater potential, greater success, greater anything at all, than running out the door, saying goodbye, escaping when nobody’s looking, leaving a farewell note, turning in our resignation, finding closure, breaking the contract, putting the house on the market, ending something that’s been really difficult, and challenging, giving up on something or someone that or whom we feel has just been too hard, shutting the door on someone’s face, not answering the phone or door when we hear the ringing…

“You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.  Depart from me, you evildoers, For I will keep the commandments of my God! Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Hold me up, and I shall be safe, And I shall observe Your statutes continually.” Psalm 119:114-117 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” “ Psalm 91:1-2 When life is…

“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16  “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High  shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 A most remarkable thing occurred one day that only could have transpired at the hand of the Lord. I was praying, praising, worshiping, and seeking the Lord as I walked through a beautiful park when I crossed paths with a fellow walker. We said a brief hello at most and kept on. A while afterward, in this enormous park, we crossed paths again. This time she was jogging, but she called out something to me after she…

   “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10      “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 Thinking about suicide? I did. For nearly 20 years, on and off, I was plagued with suicidal thoughts. Several times, I decided to go through with it. I thought suicide was the perfect escape. The perfect way to end my troubles. The perfect answer. Suicide is NEVER the answer. Every once in a rare while, a suicidal thought pops into my mind when I’m totally overwhelmed, totally sad, or…

   “Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.” Psalm 97:12    “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Phil. 4:4    “Rejoice always” 1 Thess. 5:16 I was publishing my latest little devotional online one day when a happy sunshine-y little weather forecast some organization or business or other had posted caught my eye. I hurried onward to get back to my writing work, but felt drawn back to the super short posting because I so strongly sensed there was a message in it. A message I don’t believe the person posting it had probably intended. “Clouds are clearing…Enjoy the sunshine!”  I absolutely LOVE sunshine, and I LOVE warm weather, and I LOVE a beautiful day, and I…

“that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3:16-19 I was walking a trio of the ministry’s dogs – Dancer, Abigail, and Gracie – on an exquisitely sunshine-y and unseasonably warm fall day in Virginia when I heard blaring from a car next to a bunch of outdoor workers the song I knew from years ago by…

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 “Do you see?” the Spirit of God spoke to me. What He said next was so profound, and convicting, and powerful, I stopped abruptly on the nature trail where I was walking Esther the English coonhound dog who still needs an adoptive home and wrote down what He said. “You want to trust me based on what you see. I want you to trust me based on who I am.” For about six years, on and off, and sometimes seemingly incessantly in the most recent year, I had cried out to the Lord to provide a safe and loving home for…

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:34 Left to my own devices, I’m a complainer by nature. By my sin nature. I’ve been prone to it for as long as I can remember, and I can fall prey to it in a heartbeat if I am not extraordinarily careful. One night after an extremely long day doing mostly what I didn’t want to do and finally ready to sit down with a bowl of yummy oatmeal (my favorite) at my computer to do the writing I wished I had done hours earlier, I discovered paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon had made a mess after I had changed his diaper. After 20 years of rescuing, rehabilitating, and re-homing and in more…

   “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6    “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 4:6-7 They stood on the corner. As kids do. Waiting for the bus. The school bus. Beginning of the new school year. I didn’t usually walk…

   “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18    “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Phil 3:8 This may surprise some. But I never wanted to return to Virginia. I grew up in Virginia. I lived in Virginia in recent years for a few years. But I never planned to return. Not that it’s not beautiful. Not that I don’t love being near some special loved ones. Not that the Lord hasn’t blessed me immeasurably since He…

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 Sometimes we need a “kick in the rear”, so to speak, and sometimes we need to give one. Always in Christ’s love. “Get back to your writing!” exclaimed a beloved friend who works in the hotel where I am staying in my first stop out on the road full time for the Lord and ministry. She shared with me how the Lord is using it to reach her. And she made it abundantly clear I should go to my computer and get to work. Less than 24 hours before, I had taken my two paralyzed dogs and their wheelchairs and my beloved dog without eyes…

   “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Mt. 5:16    “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23     “Wipe that sneer off your face!” my dear Dad declared night after night at the dinner table when I was a teen. My Dad didn’t just see the sour and ugly look on my face. He also heard my unkind unloving dishonoring mouth. And above all else he could see my heart. My face was a reflection of my heart. My yucky disrespectful teenage attitude issued from my heart so that my words and actions not to mention my facial expressions showed my disobedience plain and clear to…

   “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” 2 Peter 2:1-2    “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13    “For we…

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:12-15 If there’s one thing I’ve learned about suffering from the Bible, from my own life, and from doing streets ministry and hearing countless people’s personal stories, it’s this. Some suffering is OPTIONAL. The Lord does NOT promise…

    “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-8    “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3     If you think I’m going to share with you an amazing praise report about how the Lord answered one of my big prayers, I am not. In fact, if the truth be known, the Lord has not answered many of my big prayers through the years the way I desired. Nevertheless I have an amazing praise report about prayer that should you hear and heed the…

God Can Use Your Hard Stuff    “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28    “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18    “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 It may be hard to believe considering how painful the hard stuff in our live can be, but the Lord can use our hard stuff in beautiful and powerful and life-changing ways. If…

Need Some Peace and Quiet?    “He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge;” Psalm 91:4 “I’m sorry Lord. I just want some peace and quiet here, is that too much to ask?” I said to the Lord one afternoon after a particularly challenging day. I absolutely needed to repent. For I had faced the challenges in His love for a good bit of the day, but then, exhausted, overwhelmed by all that I had faced, and the sheer amount of energy it had taken, I had fallen headlong into sin. I needed His forgiveness, but I wanted more than that. I wanted peace and quiet. A lull in the storm. A break in the challenge. A respite from the work involved in…

   “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;” Colossians 4:2    “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7     Were you taught like I was that we should say please when we want something and thank you when we’re given it? I studied the Bible and prayed to the Lord for years before I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to take a closer and deeper look at God’s Word when it comes to being thankful – including specifically when it comes to prayer. When you read the scriptures above, what do you…

“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thess. 5:11 I was having a particularly challenging morning. I shouldn’t have been surprised. I had had an amazing week in ministry, and most  importantly had had a beautiful week in my personal relationship with  the Lord. I had been in awe of what He was doing through my ministry work, of the lives both near and far He was reaching for Himself, so no wonder the enemy the devil was coming especially hard at me from an array of different directions. Not to mention  the Lord seemed to be testing me to see if I would actually do what I had been studying in His Word and preaching to others in my writing and…

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks…

“Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.” Psalm 25:4 NKJV I couldn’t have been more thrilled when two beautiful little girls were given permission by the “big people” in their lives – the adults – to start a little meeting with me in the hotel where we all stayed to love and worship the Lord, to pray to Him, to study His Word and learn about Him and how to follow Him, and to share our hearts and seek Him together and enjoy His sweet presence in our little gatherings. Immediately in our first two little meetings we began with my telling them plainly and clearly the Gospel message and that we must lay down this foundation in our lives of repenting and believing in Christ as…

   “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mt. 11:28-30   “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And…

   “ “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”” Luke 6:46     Jesus Christ is Lord whether we acknowledge Him or not, whether we believe in Him or not, whether we call Him Lord or not, or whether we live our lives as though He is Lord or not. He is Lord of all regardless of what we think, feel, say, or do. But for those of us who call Jesus Christ Lord, we need to take an honest and careful look at our hearts and lives. Not just in the big picture, at our hearts and lives as a whole, but in the smaller picture, in how we live our lives day by day, and even moment by moment. An…

“Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”” 1 Samuel 3:10 Why do our telephone voice mil systems answer phone calls for us and take messages we can hear later – if we want? We’re not home, unavailable, too busy, sleeping, don’t hear the phone ring because we’re in the other room, or because the tv or radio are too loud, we’re caught up with “higher priorities”, we feel we have better things to do, are screening calls and choosing not to answer the phone when we don’t want to have a conversation with the person calling, because we’re not interested in the person, we don’t want to hear what the person has to say, we’re…

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3 We have all been hurt, and we have all hurt others. We are born into sin, all fall short of God’s glory, and even those who have repented and placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and become His devoted followers, experience being hurt and hurting others. We assuredly need to love and forgive those who hurt us, and we also need love, comfort, hope, and healing – especially when the hurts are big. We can run to a zillion people, places, and things for help and healing, but no one and nothing gives us the…

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:14 When a beautiful sister in the Lord surprised me with a wonderful blessing by telling me she would take a big responsibility off my shoulders for a few days, freeing me up for much needed rest and whatever else the Lord might lead me to do, I wasn’t just thrilled. I wasn’t just thankful. I started running. Running the wrong way. See, instead of running to God because I now live for Christ, I started running in the flesh – in my mind racing to figure out what I do with the exceedingly desired free time. Free time I had not had in a long time. I started concocting all sorts of…

  “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,” Revelation 1:5   “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37    “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,” Ephesians 2:4    “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Eph. 5:2    “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace,” 2 Thess. 2:16    “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and…

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